By Emily Suess

Video conferencing technologies like Skype make it easier for small business owners to interview remote workers, contractors, and new hires who don’t currently live locally. Here’s how to get through a video conference interview successfully and attract top talent from virtually anywhere in the world.

1. Test your technology.

Before the interview, do a test run to verify that your Internet connection and software are working as intended. Don’t just open Skype and check your WiFi signal, place an actual call to someone and make sure they can hear you and see you. It’s also a good idea to check your surroundings to make sure there’s nothing in the picture that you don’t want the interviewee to see.

2. Limit interruptions and choose a quiet location.

Your office might not be the best location to conduct the interview. If you’re the kind of boss who operates with an open door policy, you may be interrupted frequently by visitors and employees. An easy solution could be to move your laptop to another location or create an “interview in progress” sign so that others know you’re in the middle of an interview.

Don’t forget to set your ringtone to silent and disable other notifications that could be potential distractions, including chat and app notifications.

3. Prepare questions and follow-up questions.

Skype interviews are a lot like face-to-face interviews in that you should still prepare thoughtful questions for the interviewee. Don’t wing it just because you’re not in the same room with someone. Go with open ended questions that get the candidate talking and prepare a series of follow-up questions to encourage him or her to elaborate.

4. Ask for file attachments and links.

Make the most of the interview medium, and use chat and file sharing functions to get additional documents from the person you interview. This is especially beneficial when you’re hiring potential writers, designers and others with portfolio links scattered across the web. You can collect the links and review them later as you evaluate each of your job candidates.

5. Take notes.

Open your word processor or have pen and paper handy to jot down notes as you discuss the job with the interviewee. You can write down questions as you think of them if you don’t want to interrupt, as well as make notes to yourself about the general impression you get during the interview. Having notes is very helpful when the interview is over and you face the difficult decision of selecting the best candidate.

6. Make eye contact.

Don’t forget that when you’re using a service like Skype, making eye contact with the other person means looking directly into the webcam. If you’re a comfortable distance from the camera, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just be aware that looking at your monitor–particularly on a closely held laptop–can give the impression that you’re disinterested or worse–half asleep!

Interviewers and interviewees alike should prepare for Skype interviews before the appointment. This can save valuable time and help keep the conversation on track.